Thursday, February 22, 2024
HomeRegattaAmerica's CupThe Magical Transformation of 'Magic' and the Next Generation's Rise

The Magical Transformation of ‘Magic’ and the Next Generation’s Rise

The Americans did a little bit of a magic trick overnight in Barcelona, switching out the starboard foil that has proved to be a big gain on their LEQ12 AC40 ‘America’ and bolted it onto the starboard foil arm of ‘Magic’ thus making it an LEQ12 before heading out for a brilliant four-hour training session where the team brought the next generation of foiling talent onto the water.


Learning from the senior team who are all operating at a super-high foiling level now, Harry Melges, Severin Gramm and Finn Rowe were rotated into ‘Magic’ to sail with Riley Gibbs, Paul Goodison, Andrew Campbell, Michael Menninger, and Lucas Calabrese. And it was an interesting watch with plenty of ventilations in the choppy swell that is all part of the learning process in these simple but technically demanding AC40’s. Michael Menninger was full of praise for the younger team members saying: “Yeah they’re doing great they’re having a ton of fun and they’re learning a lot and some crashing happens as a result but they’re pushing and they’re super happy to be here, doing a lot of different jobs as well around the base, so yeah they’re good boys.”

Sailing with the one-design mainsail and two iterations of the J2 jib, the NYYC American Magic Chase boat threw in some marks to get some race laps in and then pre-set the onboard computer system to give the helms a very tight starting box to stay within. As they came into the start-line at the end of the countdown on seven starts, the team were working on downspeed manoeuvres, double board drops and then accelerating fast off the line. These are crucial tactics for when fleet racing in the Youth and Puig Women’s America’s Cups that start in a little over a year’s time and by and large, the helms nailed it.


Michael Menninger summed up the day saying: “Yeah, we had a good day, today. For us just kind of gearing up for some two boating next week but yeah, we had great breeze all day out of the southeast/South and anywhere in the range from like 9 to 14 knots and we did two full crew rotations and just practised boat handling, pre-starts and practise race laps.”

The sea state was proving challenging with a 0.7m swell at times making boat handling and accurate steering a premium. Michael described the day accurately when he said: “The sea state was a bit challenging today. It was definitely a bit bigger yesterday when we sailed with America but yeah, it’s just getting used to all the foil settings with two boards and practice manoeuvres on the pre-start. We had we had our race software on the boat and kind of limited ourselves to a pretty small starting box so we’re just trying to stay really slow and stay within the starting box, just trying to push our pre -tart manoeuvres a bit harder…and a bit of crashing as well.”


With the overnight switch to the new starboard ‘America’ foil, the sailors understandably took a while to dial it in as Michael alluded saying: “The hardest bit was moding, I mean when you get a sea-state like this, any little touchdown you lose a lot of boatspeed and so in the manoeuvres just trying to get the sails deep and powerful enough and forgiving just to be able to exit manoeuvres and stay on the foils was the biggest challenge for us but it was good practise.”

A good session for the new, emerging Youth talent in the America’s Cup, the team were on the water for a total of 4 hours 22 minutes of which 2 hours 26 minutes was spent on the foils. A valuable day that concludes NYYC American Magic’s stellar week with the team looking forward to two-boat racing next week and with the foil switch, could we be about to see another foil on ‘America’ next week? Stay tuned – it’s all happening in Barcelona at the moment.

On-Water Recon Unit Notes – NYYC American Magic: Full racing mode today with Magic on LEQ configuration. Magic rolled out @9:15h with a One Design foil wing on port and the silver foil wing on starboard side that America, not sailing today, has been using so far.

Initial crew was Harry Melges with Riley Gibbs and Severin Gramm with Lucas Calabrese, but they had a full crew rotation halfway through the day with Paul Goodison and Michael Menninger plus Finn Rowe and Andrew Campbell.

They began sailing @12:29h after a longer than usual jib hoist with mainsail #3 and jib #2. Conditions were slightly gentler than yesterday but not flat yet, 7-9kt @160º wind and 0.7m, 3.3” @180º wind chop with a 1.2m, 4.5” @ 100º swell. 4 marks were laid, windward gate plus leeward gate, and two laps were sailed before stopping @13:07h to change the initial jib #2 for another jib #2 that we couldn’t identify.

Then they sailed 4 more one-lap races and 1 two-lap race with short stops to debrief in between each of them. Plenty of prestart 2 foil manoeuvres were executed and round ups at the leeward gate were getting better and better as the day went by. Plenty of tacks, 47, and gybes, 27, executed as well but not all of them clean as the waves were still there to complicate things. Again, many crash-splashes, 4, due to either ventilation or to dropping the hull to windward that required a complete restart of the boat.

This is the list of races with times including prestart periods:

Race 1 & 2: 12:29h to 12:58h, one lap each.

Race 3: 13:13h to 13:28h, one lap.

Race 4: 13:38h to 14:04h, two laps.

Race 5: 14:29h to 15:04h, one lap.

Race 6: 15:17h to 15:33h, one lap.

Race 7 & back to port: 15:41h to 16:07h, one lap.

Dock in was @16:26h. Lea Sitjà




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